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Hendriks heartbreaker: Late runs fell White Sox, 5-4

Giolito throws four fine frames, leaves with abdominal injury.

[insert The Simpsons slo-motion heartbreak GIF here]

Opening Days are weird.

Snow, wind, injury. Last year, the White Sox opened with seven straight games on the West Coast, then came right back to Chicago for a home opener without a breath. Five years ago, Matt Davidson hit three homers in on Opening Day for the White Sox, fell 10 feet short of a fourth, set a record for exit velocity — and by season’s end, had a more promising future as a relief pitcher. Hell, the Cubs won yesterday.

This Opening Day, featuring lost leads by Chicago in the eighth AND ninth innings, took a little while to turn upside-down. But turn it did, with Detroit scoring two in the eighth and two in the ninth to steal a win, 5-4.

After closer Liam Hendriks surrendered his second straight lead on an Eric Haase solo shot, Austin Meadows tripled to set up favorite foil, Javier Baéz, who lofted a deep fly to right:

Today’s game started mundane, pedestrian. Sure, there was a little drizzle happening about an hour in that made you secretly hope for a couple of quick 1-2-3 innings to speed the game to official. And the game sprinted through the middle innings, before the rains came, Kendall Graveman’s in-cap Walkman malfunctioned, and the White Sox were bailed out of trouble after a debatable runner’s interference call on a double-play ball at second base.

Yeah, things regressed to the weird in this one, it just took awhile.

The White Sox packed all their offense for the game in two bursts. Right away, in the first inning, the White Sox got two-out trouble brewing with an Eloy Jiménez RBI single after two walks, truncated by a Leury García whiff to end the threat with runners on the corners. In the second, it was another resourceful White Sox rally extending an inning, as Jake Burger-AJ Pollock-Luis Robert went double-single-double with two dead pushing the pad to 3-0 in the second.

But the White Sox left uncashed chips in scoring position in both innings, and those dead chips would come back to haunt, as they almost always do.

Before the horrors, the Sox succeeded in breaking down Tigers starter (and presumed No. 1) Eduardo Rodriguez to the core. His first time through the order, five Pale Hose pushed counts to full, and the southpaw had racked up 73 pitches through three frames. No surprise, then, Rodriguez could only survive four innings, leaving Comerica Park pretty flat, with a 3-0 deficit early.

On the Sox side, Lucas Giolito cruised, whiffing five of the first 10 Bengals. However, “abdominal discomfort” forced Gio from the game after four innings as well. Precautionary, or ominous? Steve Stone, coloring the broadcast as always, felt that such wording for the injury “can mean a whole lot” in terms of diagnosis range. Lucas was robbed of an Opening Day quality start, but gave up just two hits and two walks, against six Ks, for the game.

While Bennett Sousa’s major league debut in the fifth was plenty fine (1-2-3 clean), Kyle Crick’s White Sox debut in the sixth was not (HBP, BB, screaming meemie lineout to LF).

Graveman was summoned, bailing out Crick in part because Jeimer Canderlario decided to Australian Rules Football a slide into second, after his RBI single trimmed the Chicago lead to 3-1:

That’s not a call you’ll necessarily get every time, but Josh Harrison went a-tumbling, and the umps upheld a 6-4-3 runner’s interference double play. Besides, it could have been the karmic cycle evening out, as Candelario only got his chance for an RBI single after the benefit of a kind ball call at 2-2 at the plate.

Today, however, karma turned out cruel to be kind.

The second time the White Sox needed a reliever-on-reliever bailout, in the eighth inning, karma caught up with them. Aaron Bummer got the hook with the bases loaded, the second out of the inning gifted by a punch out on a third strike Yasmani Grandal couldn’t even handle. (Dennis the Menace Candelario was at the plate for that backwards K as well.)

Momentum shifting, game close to over? Nope. Miguel Cabrera crept irritatingly closer to 3,000 career hits with an excuse-me dink to right-center, driving in two and tying the game.

With expletives streaming, Hendriks escaped the jam after damage was done.

Then, with one out in the ninth, Andrew Vaughn played fireballing lefty closer killer again, turning Gregory Soto week-kneed:

But Hendriks saw and raised the closer failure, first with a solo shot with one out from Eric Haase to tie, 4-4.

And it didn’t get better.


Back at it tomorrow, same heartbreak time, same heartbreak channel. Hannah LaMotta has your coverage, with Chrystal O’Keefe doubling up with Six Pack and Bird App detail.